Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Discovery...

Wm. Hogarth "The Orgy"
Regarding my last blog post. Wilberforce wanted to reestablish the idea of Piety and Virtue in England. It is mentioned how, "England of The Pilgrim's Progress had become the England of Rake's Progress".
My discovery of today occurred as I was looking through an Art book and found the artist Wm. Hogarth of England who painted 6 scenes called, "A Rake's Progress 1733-1734.
The paintings depict the debauchery and decadence of a young man who looses all through immoral living, gambling, and ends with madness. These pictures say much of the times.
For more info see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Rake%27s_Progress

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The End Is Near...

What a wonderful year I have had!
I think 2007 will go down in my mind as an epoch in my existence thus far on earth. And honestly, I think my years are only going to improve so long as I am learning, seeking truth, and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
My year in a nut shell looks kind of like this... reading and learning, meeting and making new friends, starting a colloquium, sewing, cooking, exercising at times, gaining weight at other times, humanitarian projects, attending the temple, building my testimony, reading the words of prophets modern and ancient, praying for strength to keep trying, raising chickens, exploring the woods with our kids, camping, working on our home, moving, seeing my children grow in wisdom, knowledge, and confidence.
Attending seminars, learning the tools for empowering our children in their educations, understanding security versus stress. Singing, joy to be alive. Learning to use a cpap machine. Caring for sick family members, traveling to grandparents, charity and service.
I guess the list could go on. So much to be thankful. For all my blessings I thank my Heavenly Father and Savior.

I have filed all the 2007 learning encounters and printed pictures from this year for all the family. This was rather time consuming yet I was also blessed to learn more about Wilberforce and his second "Great Change". It seems that in 1692 William and Mary sent a Proclamation throughout England urging the citizens to practice virtuous morals and turn from vice. In the process of wanting to know more about this proclamation I found a man , Don Eberly who started the Civil Society Project which is along the lines of what Wilberforce started to reintroduce with the help of other like minded people.

This book about Wm. Wilberforce is making me more excited each time I read from it. It really is true that one person can make a change. What can I do? I was thinking this very question when I found the Civil Society Project and I will endeavor to learn more. The link is: www.civilsocietyproject.org

Friday, December 28, 2007

Great Composers...

I have never taken the opportunity to learn about the lives of renowned musical composers until this month. I and Gove recently finished "Spiritual Lives of Great Composers".
There is certainly a theme weaving it's way among these musicians. All 20 composers knew their missions from youth or young adulthood. A few like Mozart knew they would compose as children.
Interestingly many parents tried to prevent their sons from entering or continuing with music as a career all together, yet these musical genius's could not deny what God had granted. Many lived with poverty and illness related to poor living conditions. Each knew they must perform for God alone even at the expense of being rejected by the world.
I learned how central Vienna, Austria was within the musical world. Vienna would make or break a composer. Anton Bruckner, once asked by the King of Austria what he wanted, said to stop the critic Hanslick from continuing his wretched reviews of his music.
It is easy to find many interesting points about each of the twenty creators. I found it surprising to learn that Olivier Messiaen, a Christian and citizen of France was captured by the Germans in WWII. Messiaen felt his greatest and most appreciated composition was the one he wrote while a prisoner at Stalag. He entitles it “Quartet for the End of Time”. For many captured, listening to this concert with the broken instruments was the last time they would ever hear music on this earth. To long for beautiful music in such a n ugly place, brings tears to my eyes and pain to my heart for the suffering of others. Igor Stravinsky composed a polka for Ringling Brothers /Barnum& Bailey Circus and a clarinet concerto for Benny Goodman of all music genre.
I appreciate that Antonin Dvorak came to America and learned the music of the American Indians and American Blacks. He was a devoted husband and suffered greatly when 3 of his children died close together. Antonin composed a great symphony called "From the New World" in honor of his experience in the United States.
I like what Brahms said while being interviewed. He said he always prayed to God and asked three questions-whence, wherefore, whither. The ideas would start pouring in and the creating would begin. Johannes said that if there was a block for him he would make a personal inventory, repent of wrong doings and then present himself again to God in prayer before he could go on...

Do you know your musical B's? Beethoven, Back, don't forget Brahms please. Listen to Beethoven's Wig 2 (http://www.amazon.com/Beethovens-Wig-Vol-Sing-Along-Symphonies/dp/B0001I2C8O).


The one American composer mentioned was successful before he embarked on his musical vocation. Charles Ives of Connecticut was an insurance executive, athlete, political idealist, a hymn signing advocate and winner of the Pulitzer Price for Music.
Ralph Vaughan Williams was the grand nephew of The Origin of Species author, Charles Darwin. Vaughan is accredited with his lifelong mission of collecting English folk music from the countryside. I would love to hear his Symphony no.1, when the chorus sings out with “Behold the sea itself!”
Franz Liszt is an interesting character to have in this book which is trying to show the spiritual side of composers. Liszt may have felt God's call to him for creating music but his personal life did not show it as he fathered many illegitimate children, was quite the womanizer and closes his life entering into the Order of St. Francis. One daughter married Richard Wagner but not without intrigue.
France was a country of low morals during the Baroque era. Frederic Chopin found himself caught up in the life style. Sadly Chopin died from Tuberculosis. Felix Mendelssohn suffered from the prejudice of his day as a Jewish youth. He turned to Christianity and is noted as the man who brought back the almost forgotten works of Bach.
“ The judgment of a man's greatness is not only to be measured in the mission he accomplishes but in the obstacles he has overcome in the process.” This quote exemplifies the mission that Ludwig van Beethoven accepted as he lost his hearing, becoming completely deaf, yet persevered for the glory of God.

Spiritual Lives of great Composers has been an easy way to 'wet my appetite'. Now to something bigger...

Our children have listened attentively when they have been around for our reading. Interestingly they are asking to listen to a few tapes we have about the lives and music of composers so this has turned into a learning experience for all of us.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Snow White Christmas...

I find myself enjoying this Christmas holiday with my family more so this year then any other. Why? I think it has to do with less for us and more for them. Three presents and one book for each child and some stocking stuffer's, and some new movies for the family. Our main attention was given to an Orphanage in Ecuador and Subbing for Santa locally.
For the last week we have been preparing for Monday night FHE, an evening of Elocution based on the Christmas theme. Gove's mother arrived late Christmas Eve evening and we preformed our memorized poems. Gove recited from memory the whole Grinch story. Eli's poem was about the 24th of December ticking away so slowly. Beth gave a poem about the stable where Jesus was born. I gave the poem I typed under December 24th blog. And Mattia made her own poem called For Want Of The Snow Flake.

For want of the snow flake the snow was lost.
For want of the snow the snowman was lost.
For want of the snowman the fun was lost.
For want of the fun the kids were lost.
And all for the want of one snow flake.

After our recitations, Gove read the Christmas Story. We piled into the van, the snow was falling again, we made chocolate candies in the afternoon and now we took them to our neighbors. I and the kids were brave enough to get out of the car and we caroled as we waited for the doors to open. It was fun to go with the kids and see how appreciated there acts of kindness were received. Next year we will practice our songs in advance.
Christmas day was lovely as well. We had the kids come help shovel snow prior to opening gifts. Less is more for us this year. I placed a picture of Jesus on the tree and we each wrote 3 gifts we would like to improve upon to give to Jesus this new year. I really like seeing a picture of Jesus on the tree and I think I will add this touch next year when we decorate the tree.

The heat lamp broke in the chicken coop and so I must get that replaced this morning as their drinking water is frozen now. I've had nothing but problems the past 3 days with the water container leaking. I had to remove all the bedding from the nests and from the floor as 7 gallons have leaked onto the floor. I hope to solve this quandary today.

We are off to purchase some containers for storage, and to see what JC Penny has to offer with blinds at 70% off.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The clock ticks slowly in the hall...

Christmas Everywhere
-by Phillips Brooks

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
Christmas in lands of fir-tree and pine,
Christmas in lands of palm-tree and vine,
Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white,
Christmas where corn fields are sunny and bright.
Christmas where children are happy and gay,
Christmas where old men are patient and gray,
Christmas where peace, like a dove in his flight,
Broods o'er brave men in the thick of the fight;
Everywhere, everywhere Christmas tonight!
For the Christ-child who comes is Master of all;
No palace too big, no cottage too small.

Friday, December 21, 2007

"I Am Not Now What I Ought To Be...."

This morning while reading about Wm. Wilberforce in A Hero of Humanity by Kevin Belmonte, I was struck with a sudden idea and I want to post it in order to remember. I was reading about Wilberforce during the 1785-86 season when he experienced a "Great Change" spiritually and was once again awakened to his relationship with God and Christianity. I thought how interesting that William would be instrumental in the abolition of the British slave trade and I wondered if this act might have helped prepare the hearts of the British people for the restored gospel that would soon come. I wonder...

Last night we drove to SLC just as the rain, snow and thunder started. We took our children to Temple Square as part of our newly established Christmas tradition. Slush was everywhere and few people were out and about and thus we had a fun time together. Gove and the kids throwing snowballs. Gove's mom came with us. She was able to present the kids with lovely fleece vests for Eli and Beth and a hooded pullover for Tia. All of which came in handy during the snow. We were able to take Great Grandma Maggie to Orem on our return trip to Provo later in the evening.

Late this morning we learned that Grandma Maggie who is 94 needed to come stay with us because her son went to the hospital with irregular heart rhythms. Gove and I quickly stopped at DI the local thrift store and were blessed to find a lazy boy chair, a desk and book self to accommodate Gove's grandma. Maggie has a tracheotomy and often needs saline washes or wiping of the secretions around the trach opening. Today I was grateful to be helpful to this grand old women. I washed her slippers, I rubbed coconut oil and lotion into the skin of her lower legs that were just as dry as could be and are still soft 6 hours later. Mattia and Beth both spent time doing crafts or talking about their dolls that this grandma made for them 2 years ago. It turns out that the dolls of 2 years ago are worth 1/2 a million in dollars Grandma says. She said she was sick as she worked on the dolls and ended up in the hospital and then suffered respiratory arrest and thus the tracheotomy. Maggie will spend the night sleeping in her chair where she feels most comfortable. Gove is going to sleep near her and call me if there are any worries. Gove is playing Upwords with her right now.

It has been enjoyable to learn about Wilberforce in my current reading. He is surrounded by great men of that time. It's interesting to read how he was disappointed in himself for wasting valuable years. I love what he said,
"I am not now what I ought to be;
yet I trust...through the help of that gracious Being who has promised to assist our weak endeavors, to become more worthy of the name of Christian."

I like that the author is showing the natural man in Wilberforce and his 'repentance' as he develops and seeks improvement. In the beginning of his political career he was interested in himself and even bought votes which was and probably still is acceptable.

Must sleep...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sewing Projects...


I can sew! Look what I made. I am so pleased to be blessed with a talent for sewing. I also made 9 pairs of polar fleece pants for the kids. I'm finished for the season, except for Humanitarian projects which I have plenty to do.

A Gift For Me...

Oh my goodness! During 2006 I recorded that I read 16 books and listened to 3 audio books. I just counted my books thus far for 2007 excluding the audio's, GWC articles, and the Famous Childhood Series, I have read 28 books. And one was Les Miserables unabridged which should count for three.
This is a world record for me, a person who 3 years ago might of read 3 additional books besides our central cannon in a year. I'm so excited and happy for myself. I am progressing and it feels great. I like myself and I want to keep improving. I know I will fall backwards often but as long as I keep going forward just a little each month, or year, or decade I am better.
I have read or listened to 44 different works this year and I hope to add 2 more books by New Years Eve. This is so fun! To structure my time wisely and really give more to reading and learning for my personal education in the afternoons could provide a grand adventure for me and my family.
All my thanks is directed to my God for opportunities to read and learn. And the desire to be changed and improved upon.
I feel like this is the best Christmas gift for me.

Give Said The Little Kids....

Our children had the best day on Monday. They went shopping for another family who needed help with Christmas. Eli, Beth, and Tia shopped for 3 other children ages 4-1. I was so pleased to see my children look for clothes, toys and books for someone else and show concern for these unknown little lives.
I was rejoicing in my heart to realize that our children can buy things for others and not be upset that they would never get such toys.
Last night we delivered these gifts to the awaiting family. Our children went away happy to have helped.

This morning the kids are artist. They are painting pictures for grandparents.

I am longing for more reading time. I need to sew a gift for my family today so I guess another busy day is in store and then it ends. We watched Amazing Grace last week, and now I am fired up to read about William Wilberforce. I have 2 different authors to compare. Gove and I have started The Spiritual Lives of Great Composers in preparation for January's colloquium.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Minerva Teicherts Art Work



I took the children to view Minerva Teicherts art work this past Wednesday at the BYU Art Museum. I so like it when the children respond positively to attending an art gallery. On this tour they were interested in the dates of when the pictures were painted. I think the colors of Mrs. Teicherts art works give a feeling of being alive and I found my eyes being drawn to everything she painted. I saw a lot of reds, golds, and blues in her paintings. I have liked the picture of Esther since I first saw Minerva's work in an Ensign some time ago I think it was. This week I liked the Return of Israel.

Today we go to the SLC Aquarium.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Silas Marner...

Yes, I finally finished Silas Marner this afternoon. I am aware that Mary Ann Evans who used the pen George Eliot was atheist and a humanist. Eramus of Rotterdam was also a humanist. From what little I read at Wikipedia, a humanist may not believe in God but does believe in doing what is right or good, as far as right is understood. I think 'right' can be interpreted many ways. I'm not sure it would always be right in my mind.

A young man who is wronged by his own community. He is framed by his friend with murder and robbery. And then his girlfriend is stolen by this same so called friend. Right there is reason to give up I suppose. Silas feels rejected of God.(I guess this could be the atheist in the author?) Silas vows to never connect with others again, and losses himself in a new community and with the skill of a weaver he is able to work but is thought to be evil in someway because of his occupation and his remoteness.
I think God does intervene in this story however. Silas after many years is a miser and dreams only of his money. The money is stolen and our character really has no reason to live until God intercedes with the 'golden child' whom Silas first thinks may be his gold. Years later after rising the child 'Eppie' as she is called and raised as his own daughter, both are confronted by the biological father who wants to make good now. Mr Godfry Cass feels he has repented by this confession. I like how the author pens the response of Silas.

"...-then sir, why didn't you say so sixteen year ago, and claim her before I'd come to love her, i'stead o' coming to take her from me now, when you might as well take the heart out o' my body? God gave her to me because you turned your back upon her, and He looks upon her as mine: you've no right to her! When a man turns a blessing from his door, it falls to them as take it in."

Silas took that blessing and raised a lovely daughter who does not want to leave her father for a grander life in the 'red house'.
Why read Silas Marner? I am reminded that we come from different back grounds and histories that do indeed shape our lives. This remembrance can help me to use greater compassion when handling others of the human race. Showing compassion can soften a persons heart to open and share deep feelings of pain. This very act happened as Dolly, the godmother of Eppie learns by listening and giving trust and guidance in her limited way to help Silas as he begins to raise a child. In turn Silas opens himself to explain about his upbringing and the pains that lead to his solitude in Raveloe.
Ultimately righteous living, using worthy morals, following a code of human goodness does pay off. Silas does get his money returned in a surprised twist of fate. I felt pretty sure that the twist in this story would be Dunstan's body found in the stone quarry pit and I was right.

Get excited about the new year and all you can read and learn. We don't know that we don't know until we know differently. Study, read, discuss with others, make a sacrifice to improve and you will be blessed beyond your earthly experience.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Did I Say Travel Plans?

I am so pleased with our children. While I walked on the treadmill for an hour this morning, they sorted and started the laundry, took the garbages out and found a safe place in the snow for the black container to be picked up at the curb tomorrow. Yesterday morning Bethany and Elijah helped for almost 3 hours to remove all the snow from the driveway. I worked hard to get all the slush removed so when the sun came out, the driveway could become dry. It worked and we now have a clear driveway until the next snow hits.

This morning we continued with Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm. The kids played the adult version of Cranium last night and wanted to play this morning. I read the questions and they all answer. The green cards are most difficult as they include celebrities and songs which my children have no idea about. On the other hand I am surprised how willing they are to do charades, and drawing with eyes shut and actually do a fine job. The clay dried out so I think they would enjoy the sculpturing too.

Today I came closer to finishing Silas Marner. I'vebeen thinking about this story and relating it to my actions in life. Silas was shunned as an out cast in the new community he moved into because he was different and strange. He was a weaver. It's not until Silas is robbed and turns to the community for help that perceptions of him and he of them begins to improve.
I'm glad to see how the preoccupation with the lost gold is replaced with the 'golden child'. Isn't every person worth more then 2 bags of gold? Yet how often have I not valued another child of God. Weather a homeless stranger, someone at church, or even a member of my family. Ouch it's painful to see my weaknesses and yet I want to change, repent , and improve and become better. I guess I should say I want to become liber. What does Liber really mean? I need to research this more. It's hard to find worthy dictionary definitions.

Late this afternoon I read 'Epiphanal Living' it's an electronic digest of Inspirational Living edited and produced by Donna Goff. Here is a link to the December journal: http://education-exchange.org/index.php?mode=57&id=454
Donna spoke briefly of something she calls the 'MAP' (Master Actualization Plan).I read this idea of Donna's over a year ago but I did not comprehend it then. Now I do. I get it because this summer I was ready for the Family Executive Counsel that Dr. DeMille described and now I can appreciate what Donna is saying. And I can follow through with the Mapping of myself and our children with the help of their father. Donna uses 10 categories when doing your MAP although all may not be used simultaneously. The 10th is travel. I fleetingly thought how I'd like to take the kids to the countries Gove travels to when he attends his yearly Information Systems conferences which are at times out of the United States.
Gove is currently in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for this very conference. He called us this evening and said that next December the Colloquium will be in Paris, and 2011 it's China. When I said China you should have seen the kids heads pop up and then I said the Great Wall of China and you should of seen their eyes go wide as saucers. Needless to say I have the MAP for travel already planned out. What's weird is that my son will be 14 and my youngest daughter will be 11, perfect for going to China. We discussed plans for making money for both Paris and China. I know we can learn some level of French with this type of a goal in mind. I said we could travel to Joan of Arc's home land, the kids are all for this opportunity as long as we can make money and learn the language. I see no reason why we can't all go together. How exciting to take the children to the Louvre or the Great Wall. Maybe we could take a side trip to Waterloo and see Les Miserables. I sense I can truly instill the vision and inspiration in our children to empower them to achieve greatness in preparing for this epoch in their young lives.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Who Knew This?...Pandora

Nicolas Régnier, c. 1626, is aware it should be Pandora's jar, not box.

The mistranslation of pithos as "box" is usually attributed to the sixteenth century humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam when he translated Hesiod's tale of Pandora. Hesiod uses the word "pithos" which refers to a jar used to store grain. Erasmus, however, translated pithos into the Latin word pyxis, meaning "box".[24] The phrase "Pandora's box" has endured ever since.

Here is a fascinating link to Erasmus of Rotterdam:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasmus_of_Rotterdam

Christmas Specials...

We are tying to develop Christmas traditions in our home. But first I must tell you what happened this evening at the 4th ward Christmas dinner. Our kids were in line to sit on Santa's lap. Elijah came up to Santa and when he, Eli, was asked what he wanted for Christmas, Eli said he wanted to help Santa. Well the guy playing Santa did not get it. Eli doesn't want anything this year! He wants to do something for someone else. Then Eli said he was helping with Sub for Santa program. I wonder if this man playing at Santa understood.

Anyway, back to traditions. We will be going to Temple Square a few days before Christmas. We started this last year when we moved to Utah. We had a bonding time as a family. I hope it will happen again. I will be bringing our own hot cocoa this time. We are as I said Subbing for Santa this year and I hope the children will have such fun doing this that they will want to continue and make it a tradition. I guess that concludes our traditions at this point. Oh, we are reading once again A Christmas Carol. I can see that we don't have a lot of tradition yet but it is building as the children start to see what they can do.

One tradition that Gove and I may start is the attending of the Spanish Fork High School choir Christmas dinner. We received tickets from the directors wife and attended last night. It was amazing. Here is a High School putting on a 2.5 hour production of religious, contemporary, and traditional Christmas songs along with dance, lighting, acting, and a dinner for at lest 200 people.
It was lovely. Very impressive that the students learned all the music. This season marks the 7th year. It was a lovely event and as a date night for us, I can see having this as a tradition. Eventually we could bring the kids. Or maybe not.

Today we must have received 4+ inches of snow. Gove used his tractor to clear away the snow but now Gove is on his way to Canada, so I hope we do not get anymore. But as I was saying my bedtime prayers I realized how selfish it is of me to not want snow so instead I want snow and we will stay tucked away in our home. I have NO APPOINTMENTS THIS NEXT WEEK! Yes! I have the next 4 days planned for reading. Let's see, I will finish Silas Marner, read 1 and 2 of Federalist Papers, finish Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and A Christmas Carol, and start something else. How exciting to think we can get all this reading and even more next week. Let it snow!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Music...

Have you discovered Pandora music yet? I am listening to beautiful O Holy Night performed by Il Divo. You can make categories that play music in a given area and you can approve or reject the songs and the site changes music to try and fit what you are looking for. Go to pandora.com and give it a try. I think you will like it.

Georgics, Liber, Providence, Public Virtue...

What do these words mean?
Which concepts are lost from our society?
How do we/I gain them back?
Which is needed most to maintain freedom?

Dr. Shanon Brooks came to our home last night to present lost ideas that were once a part of our meaningful society. We extended an open invitation to families in the valley. There were 19 in attendance. An evening of enlightenment and encouragement was facilitated.

My notes are poor. I lack Liber, the ability to write and transform others. I am working to develop Georgics in our home . Our first step is raising chickens. Next spring I hope to plant fruit trees and develop a garden area. I believe in Providence. I am His creation and He has a mission for me and all mankind. I have to identify, prepare, and fill. Public Virtue I fear is in great need of help. It's the ability to give up what you have to help benefit society. It may be that you will give your wealth, service through time, or your life to make community better for others. Is it Public Virtue that we provide childcare each week for the families in PALMS? I think may be it has to have some level of sacrifice connected with the giving. I hear some say that paying tithing isn't the same until it hurts to pay it. I have never been pained to pay my tithing. Payment to the Lord comes first and all else is manageable there after.

Have you heard of Alexander Tytler? He believed in a 200 +/- year cycle for civilizations. He said a society goes from bondage to spiritual faith to great courage to liberty to abundance to complacency to apathy to dependence and back to bondage. Where is our nation today? I think we are between abundance and dependence.



"God bless you, every one!"

Not only did Charles Dickens pen these words for Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, they are his parting words for Americans when he left port returning to England. Charles died about 3 years later 1870, in his late 50's. I learned while reading to the children this morning that Mr. Dickens also was an actor and would read/act out sections of his books. Now I am interested in reading Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.
I am reading A Christmas Carol to the children. This morning during our reading, Eli wanted to know more about the author. I have one other book about Charles. It's called, Charles Dickens... The Man Who Had Great Expectations. It's interesting that many characters in his books were due to the poor life he and his family had when Charles was a child. Having read this little book has helped us to feel more appreciative of Charles and some of the pains he suffered as a child.
I feel confident that we will read with new eyes and greater comprehension for the life of the characters in A Christmas Carol.